Black Beauty

Black Beauty

4.2 519
by Anna Sewell

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A handsome horse with a glossy black coat and a pretty white star on his forehead, Black Beauty seems to lead a charmed life. Although his mother warns him that there are 'bad, cruel men' in the world, he begins his life in a happy home, with a friendly groom to look after him and plenty to eat. However, when a change of circumstances means that he is sold, he soon…  See more details below


A handsome horse with a glossy black coat and a pretty white star on his forehead, Black Beauty seems to lead a charmed life. Although his mother warns him that there are 'bad, cruel men' in the world, he begins his life in a happy home, with a friendly groom to look after him and plenty to eat. However, when a change of circumstances means that he is sold, he soon discovers the truth of his mother's words. Anna Sewell's moving story is one of the best-loved animal adventures ever written.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Children's Literature
This summary of the Black Beauty story is profusely illustrated with full-color drawings of horses, clothing, and artifacts of Victorian England. An introduction explains the context of the story and its impact on the care and treatment of horses. Ten short chapters follow, carefully capturing the essence of the original book. Sidebars feature photographs and illustrations with descriptions of words and terms that may not be familiar to young readers. A glossary in the back contributes to further understanding. Some biographical information about Sewell is included. This is a good introduction to both the study of horses and the enjoyment of horse stories. 2000, DK, Ages 7 to 10, $12.95 and $3.95. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer
The historical sidebars in Black Beauty mostly deal with what English life in the nineteenth century was like, but a few specifically deal with horses. They can be distracting if you're trying to follow the story. Unless you're really interested in details of that time period, don't think that this book is any better than another version, although the illustrations might make it easier for younger readers to enjoy, $17.99 Trade pb. Illus. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P M (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2000, Viking/Penguin Putnam, 208p, $25.99. Ages 11 to 14. Reviewer: Kristen Moreland, Teen Reviewer SOURCE: VOYA, February 2002 (Vol. 24, No.6)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-Anna Sewell's classic novel begins with Black Beauty's early days as a colt at his mother's side and follows him through each of his masters and jobs. It is written in a charmingly sophisticated voice that is easier for listeners to understand than to read; the language, tone, and sentence structure are a bit antiquated, suiting the time period in which the story was first published in 1877. Moral lessons are abundant in this tale told from the horse's point of view. A great deal of information about the nature and abilities of horses is imparted in a surprisingly grim first person narrative. The casual cruelty of man toward beast is expounded throughout the captivating story. Each character, man or horse, is compellingly and earnestly voiced by narrator Simon Vance. Sure to be popular with horse lovers.-Charli Osborne, Oxford Public Library, MI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

“No animal narrative captures the complexity of Victorian relations with animals better than Black Beauty. This edition offers an invaluable introduction to the novel and the burgeoning field of Victorian animal studies. In addition, Guest’s excerpts of primary documents plunge readers into the physical, material, and affective conditions not only of domestic animals, but also of the authors and advocates who longed to understand and protect them.” — Teresa Mangum, University of Iowa

“Students, as well as the growing number of literary scholars working in animal studies, will benefit immensely from this edition. Guest places the novel in the context of disparate, but overlapping, discourses in Victorian England: animal rights and anti-vivisection, scientific analyses of animal emotion, industrial discourse that linked horses with machines, and the sentimental novel. By locating the novel within a complicated cultural milieu, Guest defends the work from those who might dismiss it as a didactic tale for children. Her final note tying the cruelty suffered by animals in this text with the ongoing mistreatment of animals in our culture demonstrates just how relevant Sewell’s text remains today.” — Monica Flegel, Lakehead University

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My Early Home

The first place that I can well remember was a large pleasant meadow with a pond of clear water in it. Some shady trees leaned over it, and rushes and water lilies grew at the deep end. Over the hedge on one side we looked into a plowed field, and on the other we looked over a gate at our master's house, which stood by the roadside. At the top of the meadow was a plantation of fir trees, and at the bottom a running brook overhung by a steep bank.

While I was young I lived upon my mother's milk, as I could not eat grass. In the daytime I ran by her side, and at night I lay down close by her. When it was hot we used to stand by the pond in the shade of the trees, and when it was cold we had a nice warm shed near the plantation.

As soon as I was old enough to eat grass, my mother used to go out to work in the daytime and come back in the evening.

There were six young colts in the meadow besides me. They were older than I was; some were nearly as large as grown-up horses. I used to run with them, and had great fun; we used to gallop all together round and round the field, as hard as we could go. Sometimes we had rather rough play, for they would frequently bite and kick as well as gallop.

One day, when there was a good deal of kicking, my mother whinnied to me to come to her, and then she said:

"I wish you to pay attention to what I am going to say to you. The colts who live here are very good colts, but they are carthorse colts and, of course, they have not learned manners. You have been well bred and well born; your father has a great name in these parts, and your grandfather won the cup two years at the Newmarket races. Yourgrandmother had the sweetest temper of any horse I ever knew, and I think you have never seen me kick or bite. I hope you will grow up gentle and good, and never learn bad ways; do your work with a good will, lift your feet up well when you trot, and never bite or kick even in play."

I have never forgotten my mother's advice. I knew she was a wise old horse, and our master thought a great deal of her. Her name was Duchess, but he often called her Pet.

Our master was a good, kind man. He gave us good food, good lodging, and kind words; he spoke as kindly to us as he did to his little children. We were all fond of him, and my mother loved him very much. When she saw him at the gate, she would neigh with joy, and trot up to him. He would pat and stroke her and say, "Well, old Pet, and how is your little Darkie?" I was a dull black, so he called me Darkie, then he would give me a piece of bread, which was very good, and sometimes he brought a carrot for my mother. All the horses would come to him, but I think we were his favorites. My mother always took him to the town on a market day in a light gig.

There was a plowboy, Dick, who sometimes came into our field to pluck blackberries from the hedge. When he had eaten all he wanted, he would have what he called fun with the colts, throwing stones and sticks at them to make them gallop. We did not much mind him, for we could gallop off, but sometimes a stone would hit and hurt us.

One day he was at this game and did not know that the master was in the next field, but he was there, watching what was going on. Over the hedge he jumped in a snap, and catching Dick by the arm, he gave him such a box on the ear as made him roar with the pain and surprise. As soon as we saw the master, we trotted up nearer to see what went on.

"Bad boy!" he said. "Bad boy to chase the colts! This is not the first time, nor the second, but it shall be the last. There—take your money and go home. I shall not want you on my farm again." So we never saw Dick anymore. Old Daniel, the man who looked after the horses, was just as gentle as our master, so we were well off.


The Hunt

I was two years old when a circumstance happened which I have never forgotten. It was early in the spring; there had been a little frost in the night, and a light mist still hung over the plantations and meadows. I and the other colts were feeding at the lower part of the field when we heard, quite in the distance, what sounded like the cry of dogs. The oldest of the colts raised his head, pricked his ears, and said, "There are the hounds!" and immediately cantered off, followed by the rest of us to the upper part of the field, where we could look over the hedge and see several fields beyond. My mother and an old riding horse of our master's were also standing near, and seemed to know all about it.

"They have found a hare," said my mother, "and if they come this way we shall see the hunt."

And soon the dogs were all tearing down the field of young wheat next to ours. I never heard such a noise as they made. They did not bark, nor howl, nor whine, but kept on a "yo! yo, o, o! yo! yo, o, o!" at the top of their voices. After them came a number of men on horseback, some of them in green coats, all galloping as fast as they could. The old horse snorted and looked eagerly after them, and we young colts wanted to be galloping with them, but they were soon away into the fields lower down. Here it seemed as if they had come to a stand; the dogs left off barking and ran about every way with their noses to the ground.

From the Hardcover edition.

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"[Simon Vance's] narration makes a heartfelt story into a listening experience for the family to share together." —-AudioFile

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Black Beauty 4.2 out of 5 based on 3 ratings. 519 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I first picked up this book, it was a late in the evening at the local library. I was a young girl, barely eight years old and I was struggling with some very difficult situations at home. There was a rift in my family, centered around me and it caused me to burrow into myself, not allowing for the easy childhood friendships that I should have had. At that time I was discovering books, but they were not quite what I was looking for. Sort of like picking up appears to be a soft drink and finding out it's really tea. Bearable, but not quite right. So I went looking for a book, not because I was aware of what I really needed, but because my young soul was lonely and broken. Black Beauty and I spent much of the next few weeks together as I read and then reread the story over and again. He understood my pain like no one else ever could. Together we raced the wind under fair weather and toiled up great hills against odds that no one should ever have had to face. He was my companion, as I was his. Recently, I picked up the book again and found myself dwelling on those long ago days. I can still remember the feel of soft grass as I lay with Black Beauty, full of pain but still able to gaze upon the bright flowers around me. To be able to see beauty, even when life is not at its best, was the gift that I most needed and the lesson that the story teaches us all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Black Beauty is a great book about a horse. It's a book about a horse's life and his point of view about life.Black Beauty expresses his so well you would think Anna Sewell the author was actually a horse because she knows so much about a horse's point of view and their lives. This book is so wonderful that sometimes it seems as if you want to be a horse just like Black Beauty! This is by far the greatest classic I have ever read! I will remember this book forever because of Black Beauty's loyalty to his owners no matter how much he was mistreated by some of them! Black Beauty will always stand in my mind as the greatest horse book of all times!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Iiked this book very much i think everyone in the entire world should read it.
Amelia Johnson More than 1 year ago
I loved the book! When I had to stop reading it, I would go "Just a few more pages!" It was very captivating to me. Beware that it has many typos but they are easy to skip.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I ama 10 year old girl and i am in the fifth grade and i love this seventh grade and halft and i go to moore intermedia school and it is worth eleven points at my school an the book level is 7.7 and this book is for young aludts : *)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Black Beauty is one of my favorite books. I have read it at least three times! The story Anna Sewell spins is truly amazing. She takes you back into the times of horse and buggy and shows you so many different types of characters. Anna points out right and wrong as you read her book. Black Beauty is constantly changing owners, he goes from a nice caretaker to harsh abusive owners and back again. The book is really good, especially if you are a horse lover. I recommend this book to anybody crazy about horses and people ranging from ten to adults. I think the book can be enjoyed by just about anybody. If you have read Black Beauty and enjoyed it Rose's Story is also a good book. It is the second book in The Girls Of Lighthouse Lane series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book tells how a horse would think if they thought as humans, and maybe they do to an extent. It also tells of the many ways in which a horse is used as a beast of burden as well as how they are a friend of man. Good to be read to any child and good to be read by older children and adults.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I was little, I saw the movie with my family, so the book already had a really strong emotional appeal to me. It is one of my all-time favorites, and I recommend it to ANYONE who likes books. It's a classic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Black Beauty is a wonderful story. It lead to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals. The book is relevant even today.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read it to my little bro. every night. We are not done yet so that is why l gave a 4 star rateing. Go no grammar! Lol! (If you read the book on here you would understand what l ment by that.)
Guest More than 1 year ago
Inspiring, thoughtful, timeless classic. There's a reason this book keeps being reprinted - and its because you can never stop learning from this book. You can use it in your life with people, or when you work with animals. In this book you will watch a playful colt grow up to experience many things. Some kind, some not. You will meet his friends and hopefully fall in love with this book the same way I did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book i have read it like 7 times and i am in 7th grade and i think it is a really great book and if i could i would read it over and over and over agin all im tring to say is EVERYONE should read this great book and is great for all ages !!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Though I`m adiccted to Margurite Henry books. Black Bueaty was the first horse book I had read. I don`t like it as much as books like Misty of Chincoteague, Black Gold, or Stormy, Misty`s Foal. But it`s still a great book. A classic. And if you enjoy horse books, than you`ll enjoy Black Bueaty!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Black Beauty tells of a horse's journey from home to home. Black Beauty has some homes that treat him good and some that treat him him badly. One place he goes takes Black Beauty inside their house to draw his picture and he leaves them a surprice on the floor. If you like books that make you laugh, cry, or become happy for the characters you should read Black Beauty.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I totally recomened this book. It is a heart warming story. I have read it and I loved it. If you love animals....... READ THIS BOOK
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its very sad but soo good i feel bad for ginger
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great classic novel that your kids will love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a good book. I really like it! It has sad parts. Detiled good. It has lots of horses in it. If you like horses you might like it. If you don't like horses you might like it also
celineM More than 1 year ago
at first im hesitant if im going to read and finish the this book when my friend gave this to me as a gift, but when i started exploring each pages and the story,i got addicted to it.It has been part of my life from then on and so  that when i grow old and have some grandchildren,ill be proud to say that i have this book as my gold collection -a treasure that no one can steal from me.I suggest that everyone who MUST buy it because its a PERFECT  book...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am 12 and I would recomend ages 8-14 its a great book, Have a great time Angelina
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He nods silently.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recamend this book becauseit is so incredable you'll like it even more than you're favorote book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book because i really love horses when i saw the movie i thought how about i could read the book and Compare which one i like best and i choose both because the horse is telling the story in both the book and the movie and i really enjoyed both od them and they were fascinating to me of a horse goes halfway around the country to go to better homes until Joe Green buys him again and takes him back to where he was born and where he had his childhood with his two of his best friends but one went away and that a little pony named Merrylegs goes away and when a guy named Jared Barker buys him and he uses black beauty as a cart horse and when he is on the job he sees Ginger and she is very sick and black beauty is worryes because he loves her very much and she doesn't want her to leave but she has to do what she has to do to survive but it was too late she was gone and that made black beauty very sad but then he goes back to his real home where his mother is and that Joe Green has to take care of them all the time and he loves him